Things That Could Go Wrong With Your Brakes - Service Information at Mike Shaw Subaru

A Subaru vehicle is among the safest on the road -- as long as the brakes are working properly. Any vehicle becomes significantly more dangerous if the brakes aren't working their best! There's no safety feature on your vehicle more important than the ability to stop quickly and with control. That's why it's important to be able to recognize when your car's brakes aren't working as well as they should.

Our expert team has developed this list of six brake system problems that we commonly see in our service center. Familiarize yourself with these six things below and learn more about your car's brakes, and the symptoms you might notice if something goes wrong. When you need brake repair, come visit us at Mike Shaw Subaru in the Denver area.

A technician uses a wrench to remove a brake caliper bolt, so the caliper can be replaced

6. Sticking/Dragging Brakes

When one of your brakes gets stuck in the closed position, that's called a dragging brake. This will cause poor performance and fuel economy, as the car will have to work against the braking force of one wheel all the time you're driving. It can also cause your brake pads to wear out rapidly, and could lead to other damage over time. Usually, to fix a dragging brake, we'll have to replace a bad brake caliper. However, this problem has other potential causes, so visit Mike Shaw Subaru for a professional diagnosis.

The brake master cylinder, shown here, is part of your vehicle's brake system, located under the hood

5. Mushy/Sinking Brake Pedal

The brake system on your car is a pressurized, fluid-filled system that uses brake fluid to transfer force from the brake pedal, through the brake system and to the brakes themselves at the wheels. But, if the system springs a leak, you'll lose pressure, and the brake pedal may begin to feel mushy or sink all the way to the floor when pressed. Fixing this means finding and fixing a leak in the brake system. This could mean replacing a cut brake line or a leaking brake caliper, but most likely it's the brake master cylinder under the hood that's leaking.

4. Brake Fade

Have you ever experienced brake fade? That's the name for the phenomenon where stopping power comes on strong when you first press the brake pedal, but it quickly vanishes after just a couple seconds of deceleration.

This technician applies lubricant so an oold brake rotor can be removed and replaced

This is often caused by brake fluid that's boiling in the lines from the heat of intense braking. Brake fluid can absorb water from the atmosphere over time, lowering the boiling point of the fluid. Since this can make it hard to stop your vehicle quickly in an emergency, have this repair carried out soon! Fixing brake fade involves simply bleeding the old fluid from the system, then refilling it with fresh fluid.

3. Car Shudders Under Braking

Does your car shake, vibrate or shudder when you brake? That's probably bad brake rotors. Over time, patches of brake pad material can collect on your brake rotors. The brake rotors can also become damaged or warped subtly out of true with the rest of the brake system. This will cause your car to shake when you engage the brakes. To fix this, we'll either need to replace your warped or damaged brake rotors with new ones, or we may be able to resurface your existing brake rotors by mounting them to a special laithe and restoring a perfectly flat, smooth rotor surface.

2. Broken Handbrake

If your emergency/parking brake isn't working properly, you may simply need an adjustment to a stretched-out parking brake cable. The more you use your mechanical parking brake, the more the cable will stretch, until -- no matter how far up you pull the lever, or how far down you set the parking brake pedal -- the parking brake doesn't seem to engage.

1. Squeaking Brake Pads

There are all sorts of reasons that your brakes may start to squeak, but the most common is also the easiest to address. You might simply need new brake pads.

Your brake pads are made of a special friction material that wears down over time. As they wear down, your brake pads may eventually start to squeak. Once they're almost out of friction material, a small metal tab can start rubbing against your brake rotor, which makes a squeaking noise. That's a signal to you that it's time for new brake pads! Be sure to have them replaced soon -- eventually, the friction material on your brake pads will wear away completely. Then, the metal brake pad backing will grind into the brake rotor, which could cause significant damage. To keep your brakes working better for less, just get your brake pads regularly inspected. It's a crucial part of routine maintenance by our technicians at Mike Shaw Subaru.

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  1. Mike Shaw Subaru

    1650 W 104th Avenue
    Thornton, CO 80234

    • Sales: (888) 472-4482

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Mike Shaw Subaru

1650 W 104th Avenue
Directions Thornton, CO 80234

  • Sales: 720-724-9280
  • Service: 303-729-2683
  • Parts: 720-728-0862